CHILDREN are celebrating after successfully developing their cycling skills with an initiative designed to help students boost their self-esteem.

A partnership between Richmond School and Sixth Form College, Hawes-based Stage 1 Cycles and North Yorkshire Sport, the project was funded through Sportivate, a £56m Lottery 2012 legacy programme promoted by the recently formed Richmondshire Inclusive Sports group.

Schoolchildren Madeline Smith, 11, Ieaun Leyman,13, and Lucas Smith,10, were among a group of six students to take the course, which comprised a week’s intensive training followed by five hour-long weekly sessions.

Classes were led by Stage 1instructors Kirsten Civil and Mike Allenby, who successfully trained the children to ride their bikes.

Teacher in Charge of outreach provision for specific learning difficulties at Richmond School Kath Lawson said: “Our aim is to provide opportunities for students to develop daily life skills which can be affected by co-ordination difficulties. Cycling is one area which can be affected, as are swimming and handwriting.

“It was incredible to see the students all achieve so much so quickly and the resultant increases in self-confidence and self-esteem. We hope this will be a launch-pad for future initiatives to help children with similar difficulties.”

Ieaun said: “I wasn’t that bothered about attending the course but ended up riding in under an hour which was amazing.”

Madeline’s mum Claire added: “While she could ride a bike before, this course has really boosted her confidence. It is quite technical riding a bike, having to cope with balance, co-ordination and being in the right gear for the right inclines. She has also enjoyed being with other children with similar abilities.”

Lucas’ mum Claire said: “It really has been so much more than just riding a bike, helping with his confidence too, which is really good.”

Anyone interested in their children being involved in future inclusive cycling events can email yes@richmondschool.net for details.